The caucus said Tuesday it has added an independent group, known as the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus, separate from the state Democratic Party, while maintaining a caucus within the Democratic Party.

“As a Democratic women’s caucus, we are focused on creating meaningful change in the state of Rhode Island by ensuring equality in power, influence, and economic status for those who identify as and with women--as it laid out in our mission statement,” caucus Chairwoman Liz Gledhill said in a statement.

The change comes after Democrats voted Monday night and overwhelmingly approved the ability of caucuses to take part in independent fundraising, communications or campaign activities. A party spokeswoman calls that an effort to foster consistency.

But women activists remain upset by two initial endorsements made by the Democratic Party in 2018, including one for a former Republican who supported Donald Trump in 2016.

“The differences between the leadership of the Rhode Island Democratic Party and the platform of the national Democratic Party are stark, and go far beyond differences of opinions,” Gledhill said. “Amidst the chaos of the state committee meeting on Monday, November 18, and in demonstration of their disdain of inclusion and diversity, the state party committee voted against giving its caucuses any autonomy and against including official representation for Native Americans on their State Committee.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo has a national profile among Democrats. But in Rhode Island, the Democratic Party is effectively controlled by the House speaker, Nicholas Mattiello.

The RI Democratic Women’s Caucus indicated in its news release that it voted to create a new allied organization on November 10, more than a week before the meeting when the bylaws were voted.

In a statement, RI Democratic Party Executive Director Cyd McKenna said the party looks forward to maintaining its own women’s caucus.

“The newly passed bylaws of the RIDP added at-large state committee seats to be filled by underrepresented minority groups, and we recognize that seats for Native American Democrats were left off the list. This was an inadvertent mistake, and we do have a recognized (but inactive) Native American Caucus in the state party. To correct this, Chairman McNamara is committed to appointing 2 of the other newly added at large seats to Democrats, in equal gender representation, of Native American descent,” McKenna said.

She added: “The original RIDP Women’s Caucus is still a caucus recognized by the party. We look forward to working with its members on important women’s issues as we head into the 2020 election cycle in our efforts to defeat Donald Trump and put a Democrat in the White House."